Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Finally, skiable snow!

Laying down first tracks on the hill

Marking the runs before the downhillers get here

Porphyry Lookout surrounded by flocked trees
It’s the day before Thanksgiving and we finally have ski-worthy snow.
I shot up to Kings Hill today to check it out. The Showdown site says the bottom has 21 inches and the top 25 inches. After taking a look that sounds about right.
About the only tracks I encountered on a run to the top of Porphyry Peak (elevation: 8,182 feet) were those of animals and the snow packer.
The snow is powder, but dense enough to provide a bit of a base.
The blue and black diamond summit cap runs were about perfect for this rusty telemark skier. The ungroomed snow was slow enough that I didn’t have to worry about breaking my neck.
It took me a full hour to get to the top because I had to break deep snow nearly all the way. It normally takes me about 45 minutes to cover the nearly 800 feet gain from Kings Hill Pass.
The snow on Golden Goose, the easiest run, was a deep obstacle to overcome.
I skinned on the way up.
I concentrated on the Quicksilver runs, hitting them four times and then trudging my way back to the top for another run.
A bright sun made the hill feel warmer than the 11 degrees, but a stiff wind was a reminder that it could get cold.
Because it was my first time out this year I took it easy.
Showdown couldn’t have been luckier to get this snow to pack in anticipation of the Dec. 14 opening.
In the meantime I intend to frequent these empty pre-season slopes.

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